July 5 to 13 - Bernese Oberland and Zermatt

Print this page
Create an account to receive an e-mail when someone replies to this thread
Posts: 51
This thread is closed. You are welcome to log in and submit a new thread.
rockoyster
rockoyster
4027 posts
expert
Nov 20, 2017 - 4:34 AM in reply to Monica45

Hi Monica,

I wouldn't say your 5:12am departure from Wengen was risky. I'd say it was crazy brave. 🤓

Lucas
Lucas
9622 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 20, 2017 - 6:41 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Monica,

I think your arrival time is ok without checked bags but it is the length of the trip and 3 connections (5 minutes each) on the way that can make things go awry and I wouldn't chance it either.

If you were closer, like Lucerne or Bern even I wouldn't be that concerned (and you built in some leeway, like taking the train before the last train that would get you to the airport in time).

rockoyster
rockoyster
4027 posts
expert
Nov 20, 2017 - 7:28 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

In Australia, we are required to check-in 2 hours prior to an international flight. What's the deal in Switzerland? Asking for future reference.

Lucas
Lucas
9622 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 20, 2017 - 9:24 AM in reply to rockoyster

No deal in Switzerland per se.

With only carry-on bags and flying within the Schengen Zone I arrive about 60-75 minutes before my departure in Zurich airport.

International flights with checked bags.... 2 hours would be my minimum at Zurich airport. I prefer at least 2.5 hours typically at any other airport (3 in the US because US airports and security are a nightmare).

I love airports though...I like to go through security and then relax and plane or people watch with a beer.

I had a 55 minute connection in Charles de Gaulle in September (Zurich - Paris - Seattle - Vancouver) and it was a miracle I made it (I had to be rather aggressive) but the connection couldn't be avoided as the ticket was 399 euro round-trip (and the return was Vancouver - Paris - Zurich so just the way out of here that had a stupid 2 connections).

Last modified on Nov 20, 2017 - 9:25 AM by Lucas
traveljet
traveljet
119 posts
active member
Nov 20, 2017 - 10:06 AM in reply to rockoyster

Similarly, we always get to the airport 2.5hrs to 3 hrs before the flight time. You never know when the immigration or customs gets jam packed and the Q is extra long. Rather be early to check in and clear immigration or customs, then relax in a cafe before we walk to the Departure Gate. If you dont check in your bags, it means having to get it scanned etc at the customs and that can sometimes take some time.

Monica45
Monica45
13 posts
new member
Nov 20, 2017 - 11:12 PM in reply to traveljet

Thank you traveljet for your kind and insightful reply. I realize now that despite Swiss precision regarding rail travel anything can happen!! It is nice to hear the other side of this so I will plan to go to Zurich the night prior to departure. Jungfrau travel pass is a great idea. I will research this. Do you mind telling me where you stayed in Wengen? I am having hard time deciding between hotels. Some seem very nice, but have a longer walk to and from the rail station. Not sure if it really makes a difference since I have not been there, but with children it may make a difference. A chalet seems good too with laundry but we like the amenities of a hotel (food, daily housekeeping, information etc). I have looked at trip advisor but still have not been able to come to a decision.

Again, I appreciate your help.

Monica45
Monica45
13 posts
new member
Nov 20, 2017 - 11:13 PM in reply to Lucas

Thanks Lucus, you are right, I will overnight in Zurich!

Appreciate everyone's helpful comments! Very kind of everyone.

Last modified on Nov 20, 2017 - 11:15 PM by Monica45
traveljet
traveljet
119 posts
active member
Nov 21, 2017 - 1:42 AM in reply to Monica45

Hi Monica,

We stayed at Hotel Alpenrose Wengen which can be easily found on the web if you type in a search. They have their own reservation site. I usually reserve directly with hotels as much as possible as they take responsibility if something goes wrong with the reservation on their side. If booking from an external party and there is a mistake on the other party's side, the hotel says it is not their fault.

Reviews and more photos on Alpenrose Wengen can also be found on Tripadvisor. Be sure to reserve the rooms on the South Facing side. Also definitely advisable to book the Half Board with a very reasonably priced 5 course dinner. Without a car, it will be inconvenient to find a place for dinner around there.

The hotel offers a pickup shuttle from the train station. You only need to give them a call - the free phone is located on the station foyer - when you face the station office, look to your left. There is a open foyer and you will see the phone with a large signboard showing all the hotels. Each hotel has a number assigned to it - just pick up the phone and call that number (it's not the official tel number but just a number assigned to Alpenrose). They will come and pick you up.

Sorry I can't help with apartments in Wengen as we have always stayed at Alpenrose. But I am sure an apartment would save you quite a bit as compared to a hotel.

The walk to hotel Alpenrose passes by the supermarket and then downhill for about 10 minutes. Going uphill back to the station isn't a problem without luggage (we are seniors above 60 and managed). They can even drop you off at the station if you give them advance notice of around an hour.

You can view some photos on my trip reports when we first visited Wengen::

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/part-2-trip-report-2012-wengen-jungfrau

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/part3-trip-report-mannlichen-grindelwald-grund

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/pt4-trip-report-lauterbrunnen-murren

The Panoramic walk from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg (take the cableway from Wengen up to Mannlichen) is one of the most beautiful walks, with the Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau facing you as you walk. This is one walk we would like to repeat if we ever get the chance. Remember to walk in the direction towards Kleine Scheidegg and not from K so you get the majestic views in front of you. There is a cafe (cafe Grindelwald Blick) just before you end up in Kleine Scheidegg. I have no idea why they gave the cafe that name as it's not in Grindelwald.

Another ride that is quite scenic is from Mannlichen to Grindelwald. It is a long cable car ride (don't stop at the middle station but go all the way to the end) with green fields below and the alps in view. When you reach the Grindelwald cable car station, just take a bus all the way to Grindelwald First bus stop. From there, you go up to First and do the zipline or trotti bikes if the children are up to it (we skipped the activities). We didn't like the cafe up in First as the food was cold and microwaved - not worth it. The Thrill walk in First can't be compared to the Birg bridge in Murren. For us, the First experience was ok but we probably won't repeat it. Perhaps the children may enjoy the activities.

After the Panoramic walk, you can take the train from Kleine Scheidegg back to Wengen (sit on the left).

We only visited the Big Thrill Walk in Murren on our 2nd trip so I haven't done a report yet. If you and the family aren't afraid of heights, then this is an experience I highly recommend. As with all outdoor trips, check the weather report so you can plan accordingly. That's why it is better to have more days in one region so your options are not so limited due to unpredictable weather.

youtu.be/Z1KPVJvRLD4

Murren itself is quite lovely if you sit at a cafe and enjoy a drink in the open - just soaking in the mountains which are really so very close. We enjoyed the patio at Hotel Alpina (but stayed at Hotel Alpenblick) in the afternoons.

If you like, you can actually base yourself in Wengen and Murren which is what we did on our 2nd trip last September.

In Wengen, you can go up to Mannlichen, walk around and do the Panoramic Walk to Kleine Scheidegg. You can also make a trip up to the Jungfrau if the weather is good. We enjoyed that experience too. On another day, take the long cable car ride to Grindelwald and bus to First.

When you base yourself in Murren, it's much easier to get to the Birg Thrill Walk or Schilthorn. You can even walk down to Gimmelwald and take the cable car back up to Murren (we found it too uphill from Gimmelwald to Murren). Bear in mind the queues up to Birg and Schilthorn can be long, so basing ourselves in Murren was a good idea as it was just a stroll to the cable car station. Compared to a longer ride and transfers from Wengen.

It's also nearer if you want to do the Lauterbrunnen valley walk to Stechelberg (which then brings up back up to Murren by cablecar). We also enjoyed the views up at Allmendhubal which is a 10-15min easy walk from Murren station.

That's what we did on our 2nd trip - enjoying the alps from a distance in Wengen and the mts. very close upfront in Murren. It's pretty cool that the cable ride from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp to Murren has a special carriage only for luggages. When riding from Grutschalp to Murren - definitely sit on the left.

From what I read, BO is not as expensive as Zermatt. So if that is true, you will get more for your money if you get the Jungfrau Travel Pass and just enjoy the region.

We always travelled off peak in mid-end September to avoid crowds and still enjoy the cool weather. Since you are travelling in July, I have no idea what the experience will be like as there will be more tourists and it may sometimes be a little stressful trying to get a seat on the trains. So best to get to the station earlier.

We chose to buy the First Class Half Fare Card online and also booked our train tickets on the main routes in advance before we left for Switzerland. Since I was sure of where we were staying I was able to buy and book those routes eg. Zurich Airport - Bettmeralp; Bettmeralp - Wengen; Murren - Engelberg; Engelberg - Zurich Airport.

Sitting in First Class took away the hassle of looking for seats which can be quite packed at times. We learnt this from our 1st trip. As for comfort, both 2nd and 1st class are great. It's just that one has a better chance of getting seats together and getting luggage space simply because less people are willing to pay for First Class. But there are more carriages for 2nd class and just one or two for First class.

Since yours is a fairly big group (I am not sure about discounts for the children) - it will add up to your cost if in First Class. We were 3 adults and at this stage of our lives, can afford to pamper ourselves a little more just to take away the stress and hassle of getting on trains and worrying about luggage space or seats. Hopefully you won't have too much of a problem when you travel.

Thanks to fellow forumers who guided me on the transport - everything worked out fine (except for the unexpected power failure where we had to get off the train).

rockoyster
rockoyster
4027 posts
expert
Nov 21, 2017 - 1:48 AM in reply to traveljet

Hi traveljet,

Very useful information for my next trip (hopefully September 2018).

You wrote "I have no idea why they gave the cafe that name as it's not in Grindelwald."

Grindelwald Blick = Grindelwald View 🤓

Also . . . "We chose to buy the First Class Half Fare Card online".

Do you mean a First Class Swiss Travel Pass?

Last modified on Nov 21, 2017 - 2:13 AM by rockoyster
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5170 posts
expert
Nov 21, 2017 - 1:57 AM in reply to rockoyster

A little bit of German is helpful in a region that is German-speaking. ;-)

Reastaurant Rigiblick is a Michelin-starred restaurant above Zürich... with a view to the Rigi on a clear day.

Slowpoke

Mark
Mark
197 posts
active member
Nov 21, 2017 - 2:52 AM

Monica,

we have stayed several times at the Beausite Park hotel. Read about it on TripAdviser. We loved it. I believe TripAdviser rates the Beausite #1 and Alpenrose #2 in Wengen hotels. Either would be a good choice, likely. I agree get the half board as the food was very good. mark

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Nov 21, 2017 - 3:02 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi rockoyster,

>> In Australia, we are required to check-in 2 hours prior to an international flight. What's the deal in Switzerland? Asking for future reference.

It might be useful to know that it can take you up to 30 minutes to get to your departure gate at Zürich airport.

I think all intercontinental flights leave from the E Gates, which means transferring via the internal airport train to get there, as well as a long walk.

For my flight home from Zürich to Australia in October last year, my Singapore Airlines flight departed from Gate E67 - right at the very end of the E Gates - quite a trek to get there.

Zürich airport has the following information about the time to get to departure gates from check-in desks:

Gates A: 15 to 20 minutes

Gates B: 15 to 20 minutes

Gates D: 20 to 25 minutes

Gates E: 20 to 30 minutes (includes a transfer on the internal airport train, complete with birdsong, alphorn music, yodelling, cowbell and cow-moo sound effects!)

There's a YouTube video of the trip here!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgIK4Eo6b74

Alpenrose

Last modified on Nov 21, 2017 - 3:29 AM by Removed user
traveljet
traveljet
119 posts
active member
Nov 21, 2017 - 4:23 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster,

Come to think of it, I bought the Half Fare Card online. Then 30 days before departure, i booked my train tickets for the main routes 1st class Half Fare.. If memory serves me correctly, I think the tickets can only be ordered online 30 days before the departure date of each route. But the Half Fare is available anytime online. We got everything from the sbb website. This saved us the need to Q at the ticket counters or machines and no validation needed.

We just hopped on the trains of the route in 1st Class. The inspector comes around to scan and check our passport details against the tickets as well as our Half Fare cards. Make sure you have them ready with you.

We chose the Half Fare Card + Jungfrau Pass which worked out cheaper than the 1st Class Travel Pass. We were in Switzerland for 19N.

As Alpenrose pointed out, Gate E will take some time to get there so we found it best to arrive 2.5hrs to 3hrs before the flight departure. Clear customs and immigration and get that over with. If there is a bit of time left, then a cuppa after that.

Last modified on Nov 21, 2017 - 4:30 AM by traveljet
rockoyster
rockoyster
4027 posts
expert
Nov 21, 2017 - 4:40 AM in reply to traveljet

Hi Traveljet,

I get it. It was your use of the term "First Class Half-fare Card" that threw me. The Swiss Half-fare Card is class-agnostic. 😇

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5170 posts
expert
Nov 21, 2017 - 8:39 AM in reply to Monica45

<<"Thanks Lucus, you are right, I will overnight in Zurich!

Appreciate everyone's helpful comments! Very kind of everyone">>

It is a lot more relaxing. Sometimes trains runa bit slow...just a few minutes... on the line to the airport, and I can't help but worry under those circumstances. I routinely take the train from Luzern to the Zürich airport in the AM, but I try to take the one ( each hour) that does not require a change in Zürich main station. Sometimes it runs a little late on the line through Zug, but it usually catches up and departs Zürich main station on time. Still, I get nervous when that happens.

Otherwise, I stay in Zürich, not at the airport, and there are 4 or 5 trains per hour...even more sometimes...and I pick one that is earlier than I really need, watching the timetable to get one on tracks 3 through 18, because they are on the main level and it is easier to manage any luggage if I have carry on.

Also, the new tunnels and train platforms under the main level still are not completely familiar to me, and even though the signs are quite clear, I still have to stop and think where track 32 or 41 is.

Slowpoke

Lucas
Lucas
9622 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 21, 2017 - 12:22 PM in reply to Slowpoke

It's like an MC Escher work down below Zurich main station!

Mark
Mark
197 posts
active member
Nov 21, 2017 - 5:27 PM

We have stayed at the airport and in Zurich the night before departure as well. Overall I liked staying in Zurich better as we walked around old town and had a great dinner. We did have a somewhat strange experience at the train station that Lucas may be able to explain. We bought a very cheap train ticket at our hotel to the airport, 15 CHF as I recall. We were told it would have to be validated in a yellow machine on the train platform we were to depart from the next day and then would have 1 hour to use the ticket. When we arrived we found the yellow machine but the ticket slot was blocked with chewing gum. We saw no other machines nearby and didn’t much want to blindly look for one and maybe miss our train. We found an employee standing nearby on an adjacent platform and asked him what to do. He was unconcerned and said” someone’s always clogging the machines “ and took out his hole puncher and punched a hole in our tickets and said don’t worry about it. We boarded the next train and it was fairly crowded and no one even looked at our ticket much less guestioned it. I guess the strange thing to me was it looked like you could just punch a hole in your ticket any time you wanted and forget about the validation machine, especially since they never looked at the tickets anyway. Mark

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5170 posts
expert
Nov 21, 2017 - 5:42 PM in reply to Mark

Hi Marki-

<<"We bought a very cheap train ticket at our hotel to the airport, 15 CHF as I recall.">>

The basic fare without any discount card is CHF 6.80.

It is convenient to get them at your hotel, but I buy them from the many ticket machines at the terminal, just out if habit, I guess.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Nov 21, 2017 - 5:43 PM by Slowpoke
Lucas
Lucas
9622 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 21, 2017 - 6:07 PM in reply to Mark

Yes 15chf seems to much for just a ticket from Zurich to the airport - maybe it wasn't that much.

Yes, I'm not sure what a train employee would have thought about your hole in the ticket! Perhaps realized what it was from another employee through with your explanation though.

Normally those ticket machines (orange I think) would put a time stamp on your ticket and not just a hole. And yes there aren't many of them to find anymore so good call just going to the train.

It's true that they don't check often on the train these days (at least around Zurich) kinda annoying sometimes! haha :) I actually traveled to Luzern and back without getting checked once on either train - but usually once you are going between towns checks are more frequent.

Mark
Mark
197 posts
active member
Nov 21, 2017 - 10:43 PM

The 15 CHFwas an approximation and was for both my ticket and my wife’s. I guess my real question was why would the employee bother to punch my ticket as that really wouldn’t replace a time stamp. Would this be the standard way of dealing with a gum damaged machine? It’s really not of much importance but it struck me as odd. At the time we were a little worried we might have a problem if we tried to use tickets without necessary validation. It turned out it wasn’t so “ necessary “. Mark

More on MySwissAlps.com

Swiss tips in your mailbox

Sign up to receive our newsletter and the latest forum messages. The best way to prepare for your trip!

Sign up

Get a customized itinerary for your trip

Let Swiss travel consultants create a customized itinerary. They will book your entire trip.

More
© MySwissAlps.com 2002-2018